HGV Roadside Facilities Finally Getting Attention

After some decades of neglect, there is now more focus on improving roadside facilities for HGVs and delivery workers.

ID: 1452583
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(businesspress24) - Almost any experienced HGV driver engaging in haulage and delivery work will tell you that the roadside facilities in the UK for this class of vehicle can be appalling.

That’s why the independent Transport Focus group’s report, arguing that more must be done, has been so widely welcomed in the industry.

Some Improvement – But Insufficient

Anybody who can remember back to the haulage business of the 1960s-80s will remember just how bad things were in terms of roadside facilities then.

Yes, it really was often a case of stops being ‘greasy spoons’ that had few if any facilities. Showers were almost unheard of, the WC facilities were fairly basic, and the truck parking facilities were rudimentary as well as a haven for crime.

Things, of course, have changed and improved. The growth of the motorway network and the increasing exposure to road haulage in other western European countries (where facilities were often superior) led to demands for improvement. The demands of increasingly health-conscious drivers for improved food and recreational facilities also played a huge part in forcing the provision of better facilities.

Even so, it’s sad to say that today things remain ‘patchy’ in terms of roadside service provision across a lot of the UK’s motorway and ‘A’ road network. Some stops continue to involve almost time-travelling back to the 1950s (in its less pleasing forms) and facilities are, in a large number of locations, simply totally inadequate for 21st century haulage and delivery work requirements.

Cultural Perceptions

At the core of this is how society views HGVs.

Too often the trucks and their drivers are portrayed as being ‘a nuisance’ and social liability rather than what they actually are – i.e. the mechanism by which our economy’s life-blood is moved around the nation and indeed overseas. While in some countries HGV’s and their drivers are a valued resource for national infrastructure, in the UK too often their requirements are only considered as an afterthought – if at all.

What’s Needed

Transport Focus’ report indicates that the industry desperately needs help from the government and planners in three main areas:

•Parking capacity. There seems little point in society legally requiring drivers to take rest stops whilst at the same time failing to provide anywhere for them to park-up and do so.

•Parking security. Forcing drivers to leave their vehicles in unsupervised parks without the security of fencing and CCTV (etc.) is simply inviting crime.

•Improved personal facilities, such as showers and WCs.

The report has the full support of the RHA (Road Haulage Association), which is encouraging. It is also being brought to the attention of various government bodies. That’s also very good news.

However, this must be tempered with a little caution because none of the problems highlighted in the report are new. In fact, the similarities between this report and other similar studies and recommendations of the 1970s are terrifying.

The difficulty is that, while improvements have been made, the volume of HGVs and their importance to the nation’s economy through the delivery work they perform has increased much faster than our investment in improving facilities. We, as a society, simply haven’t kept up and have not put enough money into our road and related facilities infrastructure.

If this problem isn’t addressed, the results are going to be far more significant than simply a few drivers not being able to take a shower when they feel like one. It is going to create more tired and frustrated drivers – and that’s dangerous. It’s also likely to lead to ever-increasing logistical delays as drivers search for facilities that either don’t exist or are already hopelessly over-full.

This could put at risk the delivery work that our economy desperately needs in order to function smoothly. Let’s hope the government reacts appropriately and fast.

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Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching delivery work with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe ''wholesale'' environment. Visit http://www.haulageexchange.co.uk/

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The Haulage Exchange
BV2, The Perfume Factory,
140 Wales Farm Road,
W3 6UG
United Kingdom

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Date: 08/15/2016 - 09:06
Language: English
News-ID 1452583
Character count: 4323
Firma: Haulage Exchange
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